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The Thomas Jefferson team from Northern Virginia proved too much for the Patriots in the lopsided outing.
SAM OWENS | The Roanoke Times
Patrick Henry’s Ciara Mulcahy will play Central Region champion Lauren Denuel of Cosby in a June 6 singles quarterfinal in Fairfax.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The seniors on Patrick Henry’s girls tennis team faced an impending dilemma this weekend.
Attend their high school graduation on Friday in Roanoke or play in the VHSL state tennis tournament in Newport News?
The quandary was solved Tuesday, but not the fashion the PH girls preferred.
Thomas Jefferson High of Alexandria limped into Roanoke with a depleted singles lineup, but the Colonials nevertheless ended Patrick Henry’s season with a 5-1 victory at River’s Edge.
The good news for PH is that the Patriots had just two seniors — Allie Greene at No. 3 singles and Grace Mason at No. 5 — in the starting lineup.
PH coach Katherine Smith said she was under the impression her two seniors would have played had the Patriots (16-3) reached Friday’s noon semifinal.
“I think they were going to play the match,” Smith said. "We just tried not to talk too much about it, but they’ll be at graduation now.”
Thomas Jefferson (14-3) grabbed the semifinal spot against Central Region runner-up Deep Run.
TJ — a magnet school for math, science and technology — also entered Tuesday’s match with academic concerns.
The Colonials were minus No. 2 singles player Anna Venetianer, who was nursing an ankle injury; and No. 3 singles player Victoria Xia, an internationally ranked math student who was taking a test.
“She’s either Number One or Number Two in the world in math,” Thomas Jefferson coach Marca Grau said.
The Northern Region runners-up subbed in a player outside their top six — Melissa Wu — at No. 2 singles where PH earned its only point as Mason Wheeler won 6-1, 6-0.
TJ’s bottom four singles players Tuesday all were playing one rung higher than usual, but they all won in straight sets.
One sign of trouble for PH cropped up when Greene popped a string in both of her rackets during her match against Natalie Cheng and was forced to borrow a stick from a teammate.
“That hasn’t happened to me all season,” Greene said. “That was really weird.”
Wins by Hanna Tso , Schyler Pa and Chantal Iosso put Thomas Jefferson up 4-1 with the No. 1 singles match still on court.
Rena Liu finally clinched the victory for the visitors with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win in two hours over PH freshman Ciara Mulcahy .
Liu had some trouble figuring out how to deal with Mulcahy’s mix of powerful forehands and underspin backhands.
“ In the beginning, yeah, but she adapted her game,” Mulcahy said. “It was great to play someone at that level.”
Mulcahy’s season is not finished. She will play Central Region champion Lauren Denuel of Cosby in a June 6 singles quarterfinal in Fairfax.
Mulcahy qualified last week by reaching the Northwest Region final where she lost to Rachel Halinski of Forest Park.
“She was a lot stronger than me, physically stronger than me,” Mulcahy said.
Grau left River’s Edge believing her team had been in a closer match than the 5-1 score indicated.
“I think it was a lot more fighting than the score was showing,” Grau said. “That was very evenly matched.”
Patrick Henry should be stronger in 2014 when at least two talented freshman are expected to join the roster.
Smith is still savoring the 2013 season, which included Western Valley District and Northwest Region championships.
“I’m really, really excited about this season,” the PH coach said. “They did a great job. I’m really proud of them.”
Rena Liu (TJ) d. Ciara Mulcahy, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Mason Wheeler (PH) d. Melissa Wu, 6-1, 6-0; Natalie Cheng (TJ) d. Allie Greene, 6-2, 6-0; Hanna Tso (TJ) d. Sabel Fink, 6-3, 6-3; Schyler Pa (TJ) d. Grace Mason, 6-0, 6-0; Chantal Iosso (TJ) d. Emily Hamilton, 6-4, 6-2.
Tso and Pa (TJ) led Mason and Michaela Magnuson, 5-0, susp.
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